'Everyone matters': Canada must help Yemeni refugees fleeing war, Manitoban says
Anas Al-Ademi celebrates compassion for Ukraine, urges similar support for refugees from war in Yemen
This column is an opinion by Anas Al-Ademi, vice-president and Manitoba representative of the Yemeni Canadian Club. For more information about CBC's Opinion section, please see the FAQ.
Initiating a war on Ukraine is a disaster not only to the nation but to the world's peace, because half of the world is already at war, and we need no more lives to be lost.
Ukraine and Russia have deep economic, cultural and political bonds and in many ways, Ukraine is central to Russia's identity and vision for itself in the world. Besides, Russia and Ukraine have strong familial bonds that go back centuries.
We all deserve to live in peace with love and compassion with our friends, families and loved ones.
I am incredibly happy when I see the world's reaction toward the Ukrainians is filled with compassion and humanity; not just by emotions, but also by creating awareness all over social media and opening our Canadian borders for Ukrainian refugees in Canada.
As a co-leader of the Yemeni Canadian Club (a national non-profit organization) and as a Manitoban, I am excited to serve the refugees when they arrive in Winnipeg. I understand exactly how it feels, coming from a country at war and leaving or losing your friends, family and loved ones.
I hope the Ukrainian refugees arrive in Canada safe and healthy. We as Canadians are known for serving communities with compassion and humanity.
I, as a Yemeni Canadian, absolutely feel and understand what the Ukrainians are going through because this is the current situation in Yemen, and it has been for the last seven years.
I hope that the Yemeni people in Yemen and stranded in refugee camps get the similar attention and support granted to Ukrainians.
Humanitarian crisis in Yemen
Eighty per cent of the population in Yemen is in dire need of assistance, food, medical supplies, fuel and access to safe zones. But unfortunately, Yemen is not getting the desired attention the way we pray and hope that it's supposed to get as well.
The United Nations has declared the state of humanitarian emergency in Yemen as one of the world's worst humanitarian crises. UNICEF also announced that the Yemen conflict has just hit another shameful milestone: 10,000 children have been killed or maimed since the fighting started in March 2015, which is the equivalent of four children every day.
Amnesty International has documented many human rights violations by different fighting parties against civilians.
The media has not given the conflict in Yemen its fair share of coverage, yet the situation in Yemen is not any less severe than in Iraq, Syria or Afghanistan.
In 2015, the government of Canada temporarily exempted Syrians and Iraqis fleeing their local conflicts from the requirement to prove refugee status with the UN Refugee Agency.
Ukrainians and Afghans have recently been recognized as refugees and allowed to come into Canada. This stance of the government of Canada toward refugees from Ukraine, Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq is a world example of compassion and humanity.
I would also like to add that the Yemeni Canadian Club initiated a petition a couple of weeks ago, which has been sent to a member of Parliament to authorize its publication.
We appreciate Iqra Khalid, a member of Parliament who accepted the request and has authorized the petition to be published on the House of Commons website. Now, finally, the petition has been published and is open for signatures.
[We] hope that wars never take place and current wars cease and everyone lives in peace.- Anas Al-Ademi
We need support in signing the petition, to accept Yemeni citizens as refugees, by applying the same support granted to Ukrainians, Afghans, Syrians and Iraqis.
This current petition is our third attempt. We had also initiated the same petition in 2019 and in 2020 but unfortunately they were closed upon dissolution due to federal elections.
We, the people hope that wars never take place and current wars cease and everyone lives in peace.